Heaven Adores You

This is a film about the life of the late Elliot Smith, a man whose music I only recently discovered. It starts rather slowly, with perhaps too much time spent on his early life, and yet I am and I was starting wonder if it was worth staying. I’m still unclear as to how or why he went to Oregon as a teenager apparently without his family.

I only really knew Smith’s Walz number 2, and can see where a lot of people compare him with Paul Simon, but the parallels are limited. Smith came from the Portland grunge scene, with the band Heatmeister, before becoming a more thoughtful, singer songwriter. He shot to sudden fame when his song for Good Will Hunting was nominated for an Academy award, and friends wondered at the time if he could cope with the sudden fame, the repetitious interviews.  At his death, he had recorded the music but not vocals for his latest album, so left a haunting epitaph to himself of sorts.

Much of what was said of him was his shyness and his later descent into drugs and depression, but he comes out of this film as a largely amiable, happy man, if one with demons to struggle with. Many of the images show him smiling, and he really did seem to be growing into a more adult artist, at ease with his own skin. The many artists who praised him and his work is testament to him, and we are left with a truly sad sense of loss at what he may have gone on to achieve.

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